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The Handmaids Tale - Season 2 Hulu/Sunday Night C4

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Based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, this series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Gilead is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state, and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these women, Offred, is determined to survive the terrifying world she lives in, and find the daughter that was taken from her.

 

Started last night across the pond and is currently getting absolutely rave reviews. Stars Peggy from Mad Men, Poussey from Orange is the New Black, Sarah from Chuck and Ralph Fiennes' little brother. Not read the novel, although I know it's critically acclaimed. It was one of those books I kept meant to get around to reading but never did, but Margaret Attwood's Oryx & Crake is really good.

 

Plan to check it out later this evening, so interested in how others find it. If it's decent, then with Fargo as well, Thursdays are going to be a good night for TV.

 

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I seem to be in the minority on this in that I thought it was terrible. I'm a big fan of the book but the script for this was really clunky. I had alarm bells the other day when the cast were trying to go "The Handmaid's Tale - feminist!? Tish and pschaw!" and kinda All Lives Matter-ing it.

 

This seemed like a more polished version of the generic YA dystopian novels that got rushed to film after the success of The Hunger Games. Giving Offred a catchphrase felt a bit like there's a TV exec out there going "She could be the new Katniss!" and rubbing his hands together.

 

The direction was really... off. I kinda get what they were going for with a lot of closeups to make it feel a bit oppressive, but then it ended up being about 90% close ups with a razor thin depth-of-field and it started to feel more like the director was showing off the nice lenses they had to play with.

 

The Commander and Serena are weirdly casting as well. Serena was supposed to be someone Offred saw on TV growing up, but they've cast someone pretty much the same age as Moss, which really changes the dynamic of that relationship. And Joseph Fiennes is just... there.

 

I had hopes for this as Atwood's involved in some capacity but I really don't see what the reviewers are seeing.

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Surprised we don’t have a thread for this or maybe I missed it.

 

Contemporary America, there’s been a civil war and the winners are religious puritans. Women who can have children are kept as ‘breeding stock’ and are raped by military/religious types to try and give them children.

 

At the same time their own children are taken from them, they are stripped of their names and live under a 1984 type system where there are spies everywhere. And the daily grind is only interrupted by acts of brutal violence.

 

Elizabeth Moss is the star. We see her separated from her family as the first episode starts and follow her journey through this messed up World.

 

I’ve not read a bad review of this and I’ve only watched the first two episodes but it’s incredible. The acting, lighting photography etc are all top class. And it sets up the universe through showing not telling. 

 

I think this is the best (although super bleak) TV I’ve watched this year. Anyone else watching?  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJTonrzXTJs

 

Edit. Thanks for the merge. :) Search let me down again.

Edited by Silent Runner
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Caught up with episode 4 tonight, can't believe how good this is. Children of Men/1984/V for Vendetta and a load of other reference points all mixed together add up to something totally fresh.

 

The 3 time period split works really well. Need more people on here watching it so we can get a good chat going in this thread. 

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It's really good. I'm assuming it's a one and done miniseries? It feels like it would be too gruelling to stretch out as it makes the Walking Dead look like Cheers.

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2 hours ago, Silent Runner said:

It's been renewed for a second season which is a bit worrying. Hopefully the first season will be self-contained.

 

That is very worry, because I watched 4 episodes yesterday, and it already feels like they are dragging things out and it's running out of steam. They could do a LOT with the world they've created, but just focusing it on Ofstead (that's what I keep hearing) is incredibly limiting to the scope.

 

Great world building, beautiful cinematography and utterly grim at times.

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21 hours ago, jonamok said:

Fancy this, but don't sail the high seas. Does Hulu stuff ever come to Netflix/Amazon PV or Sky channels?

 

The Hulu original with Harry Osborn going back in time to save JFK was on a Sky channel, so I suppose there's a chance this may be at some point...

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Watched the first episode of this last night. It was fantastic. It may be the best opening episode of any TV series I've watched. I went into it knowing very little about the plot and haven't read the book so didn't have any expectations for it to begin with. I've bought into the whole dystopian world it has created already and can't wait to see where it goes. I really liked how 'dark' it was and how it didn't pull any punches. Like one of my favourite movies, Children of Men, it's set in a believable dystopian future world which is what makes it so fascinating and scary to watch.

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Isn't Moss a scientologist? Probably nice for her to be put in a slightly less controlling and oppressive lifestyle...

 

Yep I went there....

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On 07/05/2017 at 22:17, Silent Runner said:

Caught up with episode 4 tonight, can't believe how good this is. Children of Men/1984/V for Vendetta and a load of other reference points all mixed together add up to something totally fresh.

 

The 3 time period split works really well. Need more people on here watching it so we can get a good chat going in this thread. 

 

 

Read the book. It was published in 1985. I read it at A-Level at school. I'm pretty sure it therefore pre-dates the PD James book. 1984 is a lot different in terms of themes (apart from the dystopia) but it obviously doesn't pre-date that and I'm not 100% what date V for Vendetta was published (EDIT just checked, 1988). I'm not being a po-faced  if you haven't read the book!  person here but Children of Men in particular borrows the theme of a future where the human race, due to a plummeting birth rate, is dying out. The Handmaid's Tale is about some very different themes though.

 

Primarily, it's about feminism and an ultra-right wing America reacting against it.

It's about freedom - there's a quote in the book I remember where one of the older women (I think, the wife of Offred's master) where she says that the population were once free however, this new regime is giving them "freedom from choices" - i.e. that society has improved due to a lack of choice and humanity only becomes properly free when they can focus upon what life is supposed to be. It's not quite as black and white in the book as you'd think from a feminist writer.

It's 100% about religion and how it's used to subjugate women.

It's about power too - different people hold different types of power and they use this to survive. It's not just political power. Deep within the book, there is a sense of hope as Offred has a lot of power and she realises that as the story unfolds.

 

I will watch this eventually as I am a sucker for dystopian films, books and TV but I can't see this book being enough in terms of content to fill a long running TV series. Unless of course they leave the source material behind and usually, things like that don't work very well.

 

The film's quite good, a bit dated now but it's still a good adaptation of the book. I like Margaret Atwood but haven't read much of her more recent stuff. I love this book though, it's brilliant. If you've not read it, you should. I haven't read it since 6th form (90s) and I still remember it very well.

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Back when I was in school we could choose whether we want to read this or Brave New World. We went with BNW but I do still want to read this. Atwood is great! I enjoyed Oryx and Crake, although I haven't read its sequels (yet).

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7 minutes ago, Illyria said:

Back when I was in school we could choose whether we want to read this or Brave New World. We went with BNW but I do still want to read this. Atwood is great! I enjoyed Oryx and Crake, although I haven't read its sequels (yet).

 
 

 

I read Brave New World at A-Level too and 1984 and pretty much every dystopian novel at the time as our English teacher was obsessed with the genre. He came dressed in his Steam Punk outfit when we had our 6th Form graduation party. It was brilliant having such a passionate guy teach us and share his love for these types of books and also brilliant that the curriculum wasn't set in stone. 

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8 hours ago, Sapa said:

Watched the first episode of this last night. It was fantastic. It may be the best opening episode of any TV series I've watched. I went into it knowing very little about the plot and haven't read the book so didn't have any expectations for it to begin with. I've bought into the whole dystopian world it has created already and can't wait to see where it goes. I really liked how 'dark' it was and how it didn't pull any punches. Like one of my favourite movies, Children of Men, it's set in a believable dystopian future world which is what makes it so fascinating and scary to watch.

 

Knew nothing about this show beyond this thread and wow, that's a damn good opening episode. I'm getting a slight Half-Life 2 vibe from it which is unusual and welcoming at the same time.

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I'm really enjoying this. It's a well-realised and very pretty, if claustrophobic, world.

 

It's not without flaws:

4 episodes in, I feel like we're owed a few answers beyond 'Religion, lol!'. Some of the antagonists are also drawn very cartoonishly (Aunty Lydia in particular).



 

It would be easy to never answer many questions, to narratively recreate the blackout faced by the protagonists, but I hope they pull the microscope out a bit.

 

My other half says that a big chunk of the book's content is covered in the first ep, and they're working with a lot of additional content by this point. If that's any use to fans of the book. And there are still 6 episodes to go...

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I totally agree. The world it has created is fascinating to me and I want to know all about it. I especially want to know more about the slow slippery descent into this type of dystopian future. This is the type of stuff that is fascinating to me and some of the best bits of the show. Just imaging myself in that situation, seeing things get worse and worse and just being dumbfounded by it all happening around me.

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@neoELITEV for vendetta was written before 1988 btw.  It was first in Warrior in the early 80's. So it's around the same time if not earlier than the handmaids tale. (just checked it was 82).

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53 minutes ago, cassidy said:

@neoELITEV for vendetta was written before 1988 btw.  It was first in Warrior in the early 80's. So it's around the same time if not earlier than the handmaids tale. (just checked it was 82).

 

 

That surprises me - I always thought it was about the 80s and 1982 wasn't that far into the 80s. It's not much like the Handmaid's Tale though.

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I think episodes 1 to 3 are stellar and 4 & 5 are being used to set various things in motion. The themes in this show are like nothing I've ever watched before and kudos to Hulu for green lighting something like this. Nothing has been left to the imagination and it's as brutal & grim as possible without descending into farce. It's very well cast as well. Yvonne Strahovski especially playing a very different role as to what people might expect. It's been a golden era for grown up hard hitting TV but this is some next level stuff. I'd presume it was thought this would be a hard book to replicate on the small screen for obvious reasons but they've managed to create something very, very good from that world.

 

It also reminds me a bit of Lost in regard to the structure of each episode.

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